About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

Kings’ national TV schedule announced.

The Kings will make their national television debut from Sweden this season, among 14 scheduled appearances announced Thursday by the NHL.

The Kings-Rangers game on Oct. 7 in Stockholm will air on Versus (and be simulcast on Canadian network TSN). Versus will also air Kings road games at St. Louis (Nov. 22), Tampa Bay (Feb. 7), Colorado (Feb. 22), Minnesota (Nov. 28) and Chicago (March 11).

The Chicago game could air on NBC. The network also has the option of airing that night’s Boston-Pittsburgh game, with the other game going to Versus. Twenty-two games were selected to air on NBC this season — not including the Winter Classic at Philadelphia on Jan. 2 — but the Kings might not get any major-network exposure in Year 1 of the reported $2 billion, 10-year broadcast deal between NBC and the NHL.

The NHL Network will air seven games: four at home (Nov. 19 vs. Detroit, Dec. 3 vs. Montreal, Feb. 25 vs. Chicago and March 24 vs. Boston) and three on the road (Dec. 17 at Detroit, Feb. 4 at Carolina, April 7 against San Jose).

Fox Sports West/Fox Sports Prime Ticket will return as the Kings’ local broadcast partner in 2011-12.

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Rookie camp dates announced.

The Kings announced the dates for their annual rookie camp, including the annual two-game Rookie Tournament against the Phoenix Coyotes. Camp practices will be held from Sept. 10-13 and are open to the public free of charge.

The rookie tournament will take place September 14 at 6 p.m. and September 15 at 2 p.m.

All practices and games will take place at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo.

The Camp/Tournament roster, practice times and ticket information (for the tournament) will be announced in early September.

This is the fourth consecutive year the Kings and Coyotes have met in this Tournament. The Kings hosted the tournament in 2009, while Phoenix hosted the 2008 and 2010 editions.

The full NHL training camp begins Sept. 17 at the Toyota Sports Center.

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Shea Weber is worth $7.5M. What’s Drew Doughty worth?

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber was awarded $7.5 million today in arbitration. That’s the highest arbitration award in NHL history, surpassing the $7 million award to John LeClair in 2000.

Weber also becomes the game’s highest-paid defenseman, surpassing Brian Campbell’s $7,142,875 average annual salary through 2015-16.

The arbitration award probably comes as bad news for Nashville, certainly comes as great news to Weber, and can’t be bad for Drew Doughty. With Doughty and the Kings still working on a new contract, Weber’s salary will certainly become a bargaining chip on Doughty’s table.

But how much is that chip worth?

Kings GM Dean Lombardi was asked essentially that very question last week, following Mike Richards’ introductory press conference.

“I think (Weber’s contract) gives you some evidence, but even he’s different because he’s a year from (unrestricted) free agency,” Lombardi said. “That’s one of the hard parts you’ve got here – there’s not a lot of defensemen, other than Dion Phaneuf, Duncan Keith, there hasn’t been a lot-a lot of these top young kids who have gotten top dollar, most of them are forwards. You’ve got a big hole in the market of what defensemen are (worth). You could even say (Keith) Yandle, there’s a similarity in numbers but he’s older than Drew. So he’s not totally analagous. You could say Weber – but he’s older, he’s one year away.

“So is it relevant? Yes, but it’s a question of how much weight you really give it. You’ve got a lot of these things that are out there, throw in the fact that the CBA is going to be up …you’ve got all of these little issues, piece in how much weight you give each one, then put it all together.”

Doughty earned $3.475 million including bonuses last season in the final year of his entry-level contract, according to capgeek.com. Like Weber, he’s already finished second in the Norris Trophy race. Doughty can argue that his 43 assists and 59 points in 2009-10 were both better than Weber’s single-season career bests, but Weber boasts four seasons with at least 16 goals. Doughty dipped to 11 goals and 29 assists last season; Weber had 16 and 32, respectively.

Most important to remember, an independent arbitrator will not have the final say of how much Doughty makes. The Kings will certainly try to convince Doughty’s camp to be flexible with the structure of his next contract by asking him to consider the bigger team picture.

“Our biggest concern is fitting it into a salary structure that allows us to -that’s our biggest concern. However you come to the number, the bottom line is making that number fit in where you are and where you want to go,” Lombardi said last week.

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Mike Richards still doesn’t know why he was traded. Doughty, Fraser updates.

Lost among the quotable “Dry Island” denial soundbites thrown out Wednesday, when Mike Richards met the local media for the first time since his trade from Philadelphia, maybe the most revealing nugget of Richards’ press conference is that he still doesn’t know why he was traded.

At the very least, even if he does know why he was traded, Richards isn’t ready to divulge that reason publicly. In the meantime, speculation will continue.

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has his own take: It was a good hockey trade.

“It’s one of those deals that should work out for everybody and satisfy each of our needs,” he said. “We gave up two good players. Philly did just fine.”

That’s my starting point for tomorrow’s story. A couple other points of note from Lombardi:
Continue reading “Mike Richards still doesn’t know why he was traded. Doughty, Fraser updates.” »

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Bud Holloway signs in Sweden.

The Manchester Monarchs will have a new leading scorer next season.

Skilled right wing Bud Holloway has signed with Skellefte AIK of the Swedish Elite League for 2011-12. The restricted free agent declined the Kings’ qualifying offer, at least temporarily ending his tenure with the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2006 draft.

Both this season (28+33=61) and last (19+28-47), Holloway led the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate in scoring. He helped the Monarchs reach the Eastern Conference Final series in 2010, tying an AHL record with six game-winning goals in a single postseason (out of the seven goals he scored).

But in three pro seasons, the 23-year-old from Wapella, Saskatchewan never got the NHL call-up he desired. He joins Corey Elkins and Oscar Moller on a short list of Kings prospects who have left for Europe this summer.

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Powerful experience for Kaunisto in Alabama.

I once chronicled an entire wedding on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. The nupitals took place at center ice between periods of an Ontario Reign home game. Much like the other thousand-plus people in attendance, I didn’t know either the bride or the groom, but it was an interesting diversion from the game I was covering. And if the backdrop of an ECHL hockey game can’t get a marriage off on the right foot, we’re all doomed.

Ray Kaunisto didn’t tweet his entire wedding Saturday, but the Kings prospect did share some interesting tidbits with the masses that allowed his Big Day to come to life:

His bride is an Anaheim Ducks fan.
This was his first married tweet.
– The new couple plans on having children in 2013.

All of which reminded me that I’ve been sitting on a most interesting What-I-Did-During-My-Summer-Vacation story, courtesy of Mr. Kaunisto.
Continue reading “Powerful experience for Kaunisto in Alabama.” »

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Lewis, six others re-sign.

Restricted free-agent forward Trevor Lewis re-signed with the Kings on Friday. His two-year deal pays a reported $1.45 million.

The announcement came with little surprise one day after general manager Dean Lombardi said a new contract was “close.” Lewis had only three goals and 13 points in 72 games last season, his first full year in the NHL. But he was hard to take out of the lineup because of his speed — a rare commodity on last year’s squad — and penalty-killing value. Lewis also had a goal and four points in the Kings’ six-game playoff series against San Jose.

Lewis can play either center or the wing, and figures to compete with Andrei Loktionov for the fourth-line center position in training camp.

The Kings also announced the signings of forwards Marc-Andre Cliche, Rich Clune and David Meckler, defensemen Andrew Campbell and Patrick Mullen, and goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. All six players spent the entire season in Manchester and were restricted free agents.

One player who won’t be returning to the Monarchs is Corey Elkins. The agent for the restricted free-agent forward wrote on Twitter that Elkins could be headed to Europe for a year and won’t re-sign with the Kings. Elkins had 18 goals and 44 points in 76 games for Manchester last season, after posting 21 goals and 43 points in 72 games the year before. Signed as a free agent out of Ohio State University, Elkins had one goal in three games with the Kings, all in 2009-10.

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With Richardson signed, who’s next?

Brad Richardson became the latest restricted free agent to come to terms with the Kings on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration with a two-year deal that pays $1 million in 2011-12 and $1.35 million in 2012-13.

His annual salary-cap hit of $1.175 million is reasonable for a player who has a 14-goal season to his credit, kills penalties, adds speed to a relatively slow group of forwards, and can play all three forward positions. Richardson won 50.8 percent of his faceoffs last season, third on the team. He jelled with Kyle Clifford and Wayne Simmonds — who has since been traded to Philadelphia –during the playoffs, and his five points (two goals, three assists) in six games matched Clifford for the team lead.

According to capgeek.com, the Kings still have $10.7 million of cap room to play with.

Which leads to the question of who will be the next to sign.

It probably won’t be Drew Doughty.
Continue reading “With Richardson signed, who’s next?” »

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Development Camp dates, times, roster announced.

The Kings will host their annual Development Camp at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo on Monday and Tuesday of next week (free and open to the public). The roster includes players in the system, players who have been drafted but not signed by the team, and other non-roster camp invitees.

As of now, Kings coaches Terry Murray, John Stevens and Jamie Kompon are scheduled to be present, along with Manchester Monarchs head coach Mark Morris and assistant Scott Pellerin, and Ontario Reign head coach Karl Taylor.

Campers will be split into two groups; Group A will practice from 8 to 9:15 a.m. Monday and scrimmage from 9:30 to 10:30. Group B will practice from 10:45 to noon Monday.

On Tuesday, Group B will practice from 8 to 9:15 a.m. and scrimmage from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Group A will practice from 10:45 to noon. Among the notable invitees are a pair of goalies: Yorba Linda native Adam Brown, who plays for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, and Matej Machovsky, who backstopped the Czech Republic at the most recent World Junior Championships. He plays for the OHL’s Brampton Battalion.
Continue reading “Development Camp dates, times, roster announced.” »

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Richardson, Martinez elect arbitration.

Alec Martinez and Brad Richardson were among 23 NHL players who elected arbitration today.

Richardson was tendered a qualifying offer (along with Marc-Andre Cliche, Rich Clune, Corey Elkins and Trevor Lewis) while Martinez was headed for restricted free agency.

The deadline for Club-Elected Salary Arbitration notification is 2 p.m. (Pacific Time) Wednesday. Hearings will be held in Toronto from July 20 to August 4. Martinez and Richardson can avoid arbitration by reaching a contract agreement before then.

In the meantime, expect the following facts and figures to be dissected by both sides:

After appearing in four NHL games last year, Martinez was recalled from AHL Manchester on Nov. 23 and seized the Kings’ sixth defenseman job. His five goals matched Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty for second among Kings defensemen; he also had a plus-11 rating, second only to Doughty among blueliners.

The 23-year-old Martinez earned $662,500 in the NHL last season, according to capgeek.com.

Richardson, who can play all three forward positions, had seven goals and 19 points in 68 games last season while averaging 11:45 in a utility role. He was among the regulars on the penalty kill, a role he could expect to reprise with PK specialist Michal Handzus playing in San Jose.

In the Kings’ six-game playoff series against the Sharks, Richardson found success on a line with Kyle Clifford and Wayne Simmonds, matching Clifford’s five points for the team lead.

The 26-year-old made $900,000 last season according to CapGeek.

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